Introducing Firoz Lalji

The LSE Institute for Africa is named in recognition of the remarkable contribution to Africa and African scholarship by Firoz Lalji and his family.

The growth of the Institute's engagement and research is an inspiring example of what can be achieved in a short space of time.

Firoz Lalji (BSc Economics, LSE 1969)

Firoz Lalji with PfAL students 

Firoz Lalji was born in Uganda and came to the UK to study at LSE, graduating with a BSc in Economics in 1969.

After meeting and marrying Najma in Uganda, Mr Lalji and his family were forced out of the country in 1972 when dictator Idi Amin expelled many of its Asian citizens. The family moved to Canada, where he built a successful chain of 225 specialty photo across Canada and the USA, which was sold in 1997.

Mr Lalji is Owner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Zones Inc, a Seattle-based global provider of IT products and solutions to businesses, which he co-founded in 1988. Throughout Zones’ history, Mr Lalji has provided the vision and leadership to grow the company into a global solutions provider and award-winning business enterprise. In addition to Zones, he owns the Fana Group of Companies, a real estate investment organisation in the United States and Canada.

Mr Lalji serves on multiple advisory boards, including the Board of Directors of US Bank of Washington, the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, the Pacific Northwest Ballet and LSE’s North American Advisory Board. He also attended Harvard Business School for an Owner/President Management (OPM) programme from 1991 to 1993.

The Lalji family are longstanding and generous supporters of the School, having first endowed a Master's degree scholarship in 2009 for students from Uganda. In 2012, their support enabled the establishment of the Programme for African Leadership (PfAL) at LSE, which has since awarded 80 full Master’s degree scholarships to African nationals and each year continues to provide a bespoke programme of leadership development activities for African graduate students at the School.   

In June 2016, through the Lalji Family Foundation, an endowment was established to create the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa at LSE with a gift of £10 million to support African leadership, academic excellence and a commitment to the transformative power of research and teaching from LSE, alumni and partners in Africa. This gift took the Laljis’ transformative support of the School to £13 million, securing continued institutional engagement with the African continent. In June 2021, the Centre became the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa to build upon and expand the Centre's objectives.

Firoz Lalji Global Hub

In 2021, Firoz Lalji and his family made an extraordinary commitment of £28m to LSE to create the Firoz Lalji Global Hub, which will enhance the School’s world-leading events and extended education programmes on campus, online and around the world.

Using new technology and exceptional conference facilities, teaching spaces and digital labs, the Global Hub will be a flagship centre for LSE, to facilitate executive education, summer schools, short residencies and an annual events programme. The Hub will help to advance life-long learning, knowledge and understanding among the School’s alumni, friends and partners alongside our campus community of students and staff.
Image Credits: Owen Billcliffe Photography